I hear a lot about how difficult it is to recruit good people in the startup sector, and I wish I had a magic wand to solve the problem. While I am working on a couple of things that might help, I haven’t got it cracked yet!
Years ago I was recruiting for a fairly senior role, and now it is in the deep past I thought I’d share some of the applicant behaviours that had me shaking my head in disbelief.
- One candidate copied his LinkedIn Profile (including adverts, menu options and “edit” buttons) into a Word document and submitted it as a CV.
- Another candidate sent a CV and covering letter by post, each of which gave the same phone number as the only means of contact. The number had been disconnected.
- We had 17 applications via LinkedIn. We clearly stated that we required both a CV and a covering letter. Only 2 applications had both documents.
- We used an initial 15 minute interview to screen candidates. I opened each one with something along the lines of “I have your CV in front of me, but I’d find it really helpful if you could spend a couple of minutes talking me through your most relevant experience”. Two candidates were still answering this question when the 15-minute interview slot came to an end. One had only just got past his University projects and on to his first job (which was 25 years earlier)
- One person kept name-dropping people I already knew in the 15-minute phone conversation. Worryingly none of those people had anything good to say about him – one said “The circumstances of his departure from our company are covered by an NDA”. Never a good sign.
- Another person offered as a reference someone who said of him “He was incompetent and impossible to manage – hiring him was an expensive mistake”. I hate to think what I would have heard if I’d tried to take references from someone he was trying to keep me away from!
Have you had similar experiences in recruiting? If so, I’d love it if you could share some of your own head-shaking moments in the comments section below!